Will IPL be available on Jio TV this time too?
According to media sources, the deal between Hotstar to allow Jio TV to stream IPL matches live, is not on cards this year
In 2019, all Jio subscribers who had the Hotstar App could watch IPL matches live on Jio TV, for free. However, this particular deal hasn’t seen the light of the day this year yet, according to industry sources. “In March negotiations regarding streaming of live IPL matches on Jio TV through Hotstar were still on, but the parties had not come to an agreement. The deal is supposedly off now. However, you would not know until last minute, anything can happen,” said the expert who did not wish to be quoted. Mail sent to Star TV regarding the same, remained unanswered.
Live stream of IPL on Jio TV through Hotstar gave a massive digital reach and eye balls to this marque event, apart from the five minutes of free viewing which Hotstar allowed to all non-subscribers. Now, with the deal not on cards, digital viewership of the sporting event is likely to be impacted.
“Because there is no deal with Jio this year, the reach will come down for Hotstar. While there would be a definite push given by Hotstar for their subscription numbers and many would have got added to the platform during this COVID situation, it will still definitely be nowhere near what they would have got from the Jio tie up,” said Gopa Kumar COO, Isobar India.
According to industry sources, Hotstar claims to have around 9-10 million subscriptions at present. They are targeting 75-200 million eye balls for IPL 2020. 75% of this will come from the first five-minute viewers. In order to reach the number of 175 million eye balls, Hotstar will have to grow their base to about 40-50 million subscribers this year.
“Business collaborations are the bedrock of symbiotic growth and with the deal between Hotstar and Jio being taken off the table, it is likely to see a heavy impact on the overall reach,” says Rikki Agrawal, Co-founder, Chief Business & Operating Officer, Blink Digital. “While Jio has been able to penetrate a large segment of India that no other network provider has done before, Hotstar is also the most subscribed OTT platform in India owing largely to their differential packages across entertainment and sports. All in all, Hotstar will bank on the already existing subscriber base to reduce their dependency on advertising,” he added.
How will this impact the existing sponsorship deals of IPL? The value available for the cost to be on the platform is likely to be in question.
“IPL continues to be the most sought-after property in India on digital or otherwise. Brands do want to be part of this annual cricket festival as they know that there is a huge interest, unparalleled reach, impact, and good engagement across consumer segments on the platform during this time. This year it is also coinciding with the festive season and hence brands who would want to get on to Hotstar for the same. Yes, the reach numbers now would be in question versus cost to be on the platform. But I believe the pull of the IPL and the engagement that it helps to attain will interest brands who wish to create a big impact,” says Kumar of Isobar.
“All advertising deals are based on the brand fitment as well as on the reach that a platform promises. If that decreases drastically, advertisers may not be willing to pay a premium for the same spot that may have garnered higher advertising revenue last year. With demand at an all-time high, advertisers do not want to take big risks,” says Agrawal. “This is surely an unpredictable time; everyone will need to think out of box and come up with innovative ideas to maintain higher engagement among the audience,” Agrawal added, while talking about how Star will look at ramping up digital reach and subscriptions.
According to industry sources, Star TV is likely to give a big boost to grow their digital distribution through massive advertising and marketing campaigns.
“I am sure Hotstar will be coming up with a high decibel marketing campaign for IPL to push the reach and subscription numbers. In the current situation where people are confined and their movements restricted, I am sure the numbers would be on the rise for Hotstar already and it will only have an upward trend as we approach the IPL date,” Kumar further said.
According to Priti Murthy, CEO, OMD India, “Hotstar has grown during this lockdown period, and we are quite optimistic about their ability to create excitement, especially because of the timing.”
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